Natural Movement for Exercise

The human body is designed to move.

As children we thoughtlessly ran around, we played, we crawled around on all fours, and experienced a freedom in movement that is too commonly lost upon entering later years. Nowadays when adults hear the word movement, exercise is usually the first association to come to mind– such as going to the gym, lifting weights, signing up for a class, and so on. Though these kinds of traditional exercises are beneficial to many, we aim to simplify what healthy movement means as an effort to inspire more of it throughout the day.

Natural movements are all about using one’s own body weight and limb mobility to get the blood flowing, and the heart pumping.

An alarming amount of people today find themselves living predominantly sedentary lifestyles. Meaning people are not moving their body’s frequently enough, thus resulting in a cascade of physical ailments that compound over time. Common physical symptoms of sedentary lifestyles include headaches, backaches, digestive issues, circulation issues, low-energy, excess weight, and much more. It’s also notable to mention that people who frequently engage in natural movement generally feel more confident, capable, and in tune with what’s happening in their body. 

Movement as a Basic Human Need

While the idea of exercise can at times feel a little overwhelming, we see movement as a basic need that can be met with a sense of ease. There doesn’t need to be any special clothing involved, equipment, or carved out blocks of time. Instead it’s helpful when movement can be treated with less seriousness, and instead be met with an attitude of playfulness.

There is no right or wrong way to go about this. When you find yourself with an extra few minutes simply get into the habit of asking yourself how can I move in a way that best supports my body right now? Then follow through.

Daily movement can look as simple as taking a walk around the neighborhood in the morning, or in the evening after dinner. It can look silly like sprawling yourself on the floor and stretching out your limbs. It can look like opting to take the stairs instead of the elevator, doing a short set of calf raises as you wait for your coffee to brew, or doing a round of jumping jacks with your kids in the yard. Our body truly thrives with this kind of spontaneous movement.

Though we are designed to move in a variety of motions, our realities often consist of repetitive movements that have stopped the body from having to ever guess. For example, when something is in the way of our path we often choose to walk around the thing instead of over it. Next time the opportunity presents itself try to keep the body guessing, subtly stretching, and moving playfully by going over the thing.

Walking is a very effective natural movement that helps the body equalize itself. Countless studies have shown daily walking to trim body mass, balance cholesterol levels, stabilize blood pressure, improve mood, sharpen memory, and lower the chances of many preventable diseases.

Start by walking outside for 15 minutes a day, and over time experiment with gradually increasing the distance and pace. When we move in these natural motions we are contracting our muscles, activating our connective tissues, strengthening our bones, increasing respiration, heightening circulation, and releasing certain hormones and cell signals.  

The world of fitness, vanity, and weight loss have given us many misleading ideas of what it means to be healthy, and can ultimately feel unapproachable. It’s important to keep our relationship with movement as do-able as possible, and remember that natural movement is a part of our inherent design. This way movement has a chance to be woven into various parts of the day, certain to enrich one’s overall health and well-being.

by Melissa Aparicio, contributing author

We are all working our way through a changed world as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We may no longer be quarantined or under stay-at-home orders, but everyone is stretched to adapt like never before.  All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us in our communities. Life now demands caring, resilience and compassion like never before. This is a great opportunity to create the world we want for our future generations. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement!

Would you like to read more about UCA caring resources and products? We have other blogs on Unified Caring Association and our products, caring in our communities, and caring the UCA way!

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